Chief Executive, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
Ian Johnston was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA in 2022, a position he previously held from 2012 to 2018.
From 2018 until his reappointment, Mr Johnston provided advice and consultancy to a number of regulatory bodies across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, including on projects funded by the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Originally a lawyer, Mr Johnston held a number of senior positions within the financial sector, including as CEO of one of Australia’s major trustee companies. In 1999, Mr Johnston moved into regulation joining the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as Executive Director, Financial Services Regulation, and spent several terms as an Acting Commissioner. He served as a Special Advisor with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission from 2005.
Mr Johnston’s impact extends globally as he chaired the Joint Forum, which comprised representatives of major international regulatory standard-setters such as the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), and the Basel Committee.
Currently, Mr Johnston serves as Vice Chair of the IOSCO’s Africa and Middle East Regional Committee and as an IOSCO Board member. His wealth of experience and commitment to regulatory excellence positions him as a distinguished figure in the global financial landscape.
Mr Johnston is a Board member of two non-profit organisations, the Fred Hollows Foundation (HK) and Opera Scholars Australia.
Mr Al Awadhi has over 22 years of international and local experience in leadership, strategy and innovation across financial services, Islamic banking, real estate, and media and telecommunications. He is responsible for operational excellence at the DFSA by driving the development and implementation of world-class, innovative solutions and smart initiatives.
Mr Al Awadhi represents the DFSA on strategic initiatives with Government entities and with local and regional regulators and international standard-setters. He was appointed board member of Dubai Health by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
He is a member of the United Arab Emirates National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations (NAMLCFTC), a member of the General Council on Sustainable Development Goals 17 (SDG17), a member of Al Jalila Foundation Board of Directors, and a member of the Dubai International Communication Committee (DICC) - a Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO) initiative. He is also an International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Assessor for Mutual Evaluation.
He plays a leading role in building UAE National capabilities both at the DFSA and within broader society. Previously, Mr Al Awadhi headed the Marketing and Communication division at Abu Dhabi Media, Priority Banking at Emirates Islamic Bank, and was Deputy Head of Retail Banking and Deputy Chief Marketing Officer at Dubai Bank, where he also managed Royal Banking and Wealth Management, Branding, Marketing and Communications. Prior to this, he was the Global Director of Marketing and Sales at Sama Dubai - a member company of Dubai Holding - where he was responsible for over 20 international markets.
Mr Al Awadhi is a graduate of the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development ‘Impactful Leaders’ Program. He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, a member of Harvard Business School’s Global Alumni Board and a member of the Harvard Business School Middle East Alumni Committee. He has a Master of Law in Commercial Law with a double major in Arbitration & Dispute Resolution and Financial Crimes and Money Laundering, and a Bachelor degree in Applied Business Science. Mr Al Awadhi has published a book entitled ‘The Sustainability of Family Businesses in the United Arab Emirates – A Legal and Operational Perspective for Best Practice.'
Muna Dandan joined the DFSA in September 2015 as General Counsel and Head of Legal Affairs.
Ms Dandan is the primary legal advisor to the Board of Directors, responsible for advising the DFSA’s Board and its various committees on governance and legal issues. She also oversees the Board Secretarial function, ensuring the effective management of the affairs of the Board and its committees.
Ms Dandan also heads the DFSA’s Legal Division, which is responsible for managing the DFSA’s legal risk and providing legal advice and support for all aspects of the DFSA’s functions, as well as drafting the administrative laws and rules forming the DFSA’s regulatory framework.
Prior to joining the DFSA, Ms Dandan spent five years as Head of Legal for the corporate and retail banking businesses of Barclays Bank PLC across the Middle East. Before that she served for several years as Senior Legal Advisor for HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, advising on all aspects of HSBC’s operations across the Middle East and North Africa, including their corporate, commercial, private wealth, retail and investment banking business lines.
Ms Dandan obtained her law degree in the United Kingdom and is qualified to practice law in England and Wales, as well as in Hong Kong. Prior to returning to her Middle Eastern roots, Ms Dandan spent over ten years working for international law firms in both London and Hong Kong with a focus on advising large financial institutions and global corporates.
Managing Director, Supervision joined the DFSA in January 2020. He is responsible for providing an effective and efficient risk-based authorisation and supervision strategy for the DFSA consistent with the DFSA’s strategic and business objectives.
Mr Baldacchino’s international career in finance spans more than 20 years. Mr Baldacchino was a career banker prior to joining the DFSA and has in-depth knowledge of regulatory interpretation, liaison and implementation. Mr Baldacchino has significant experience in private, commercial, corporate , institutional and investment banking focusing on regulatory affairs, compliance, credit, operational risk, governance, AML, capital and acquisitions.
Before joining the DFSA, he served as the Head of Regulatory Compliance for ANZ Bank, leading the strategic management of regulator relationships in Australia. Prior to that, he was based in Hong Kong where he worked for JP Morgan as the Executive Director, Head of International Operational Risk, APAC. In this role he held overall responsibility for International Operational Risk for APAC across all business lines for JP Morgan. Mr Baldacchino defined and drove the Operational Risk control, capital and regulatory governance framework across 14 countries in APAC. Prior to this, he also held the role of Executive Director, Head of Regulatory Compliance, APAC for JP Morgan in Hong Kong. Before joining JP Morgan, Mr Baldacchino was the Asia Head of Compliance and Risk Governance for National Australia Bank based in Hong Kong. Mr Baldacchino’s experience includes executive roles with National Australia Bank in Australia.
Mr Baldacchino earned an MBA and Post Graduate Diploma from Melbourne Business School and a Bachelor of Economics from La Trobe University. In 2021 Mr Baldacchino also completed the Global Certificate Program for Regulators of Securities Markets from Harvard Law School.
He is also a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and served as an Executive Board Member for the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists in Hong Kong for several years. Mr Baldacchino is also a member of The Basel Consultative Group (BCG). The group provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee's engagement with supervisors around the world on banking supervisory issues.
Managing Director, Enforcement, Mr Patrick Meaney joined the DFSA in January 2018 and has 30 years of experience in regulating financial markets and services.
Prior to joining the DFSA, Mr Meaney was a Manager in the Wholesale Enforcement Department of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for almost seven years focusing on misconduct on listed and OTC financial markets.
Prior to the FCA, Mr Patrick worked in senior legal, regulatory enforcement and forensic investigation roles in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. This included serving as General Counsel and Head of Enforcement at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and Head of Listing Enforcement at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited.
He is admitted to practice Law in Australia and has postgraduate qualifications in Law and Applied Finance.
Director, Head of Human Resources, joined the DFSA in September 2015.
Mr Sayed has almost 40 years of experience in Human Resources in the financial services industry. Prior to joining the DFSA, he held a number of senior positions including Manager Personnel and Administration at Emirates Bank International, International Human Resources Manager, MESA at ANZ Grindlays Bank and Head of Human Resources, UAE and MEA for ABN Amro/Royal Bank of Scotland. Mr Sayed has also worked at Black & Decker and in Arabtec Construction as Director, Labor Welfare and Recruitment.
He holds a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies, a CNAA Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) and a Master’s Degree in Manpower studies, all from the United Kingdom (UK).
Peter Smith joined the DFSA in June 2012. He is responsible for:
Peter is President of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s UAE National Advisory Committee, and a member of the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority’s Capital Markets Advisory Council. Internationally, Peter is a member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ Policy Development Committee. He represents the DFSA as a member of the steering body of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), which brings together like-minded regulators to work on innovation in financial services.
Mr Smith has over 30 years of regulatory experience. Prior to joining the DFSA, he was Head of the Investments Policy Department at the UK Financial Services Authority. Earlier UK roles included policy work, supervision, bank resolution, internal audit and risk management. From 2003 to 2007, Peter was seconded to the Internal Market Directorate-General of the European Commission in Brussels, where he worked on banking issues, supervision of financial groups, and the future design of supervision within the European Union.
Peter holds a Master’s degree in finance, with distinction, from London Business School.
Director, Head of Markets joined the DFSA in January 2010. He is responsible for overseeing the DFSA’s regulation of market operations. Mr Douglas has over 25 years of experience advising on capital market transactions and supervising financial markets.
Prior to this role, Mr Douglas was the Director responsible for overseeing the DFSA’s regulation of primary and secondary market operations for 12 years. During this time, he oversaw the growth of the DIFC bond markets and was involved in many aspects of DFSA regulation including policy formulation, enforcement, decision making and strategy.
Prior to joining the DFSA, Mr Douglas was a Director in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in London and Moscow. During his time at PwC, he was responsible for developing its international capital market’s practice where he led many large cross-border listings transactions. Mr Douglas has held secondment positions at the UK Listing Authority and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
For better web experience, please use the website in portrait mode